Senator Simon Birmingham is urging a review of anti-terrorism broadcast standards, if a further review of an Arabic TV station owned and run by anti-Semitic organisation Hezbollah finds it doesn’t break Australian law.
Satellite TV station al-Manar reaches much of Australia’s east coast via a feed from Indonesia, but Jewish groups have expressed concern at much of its broadcast content.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) recently conducted a nine-day review and found al-Manar fell just short of contravening its anti-terrorism regulations, but in Senate Supplementary Budget Estimates today has agreed to a further review.
“I welcome the ACMA’s commitment to further review al-Manar’s broadcasts here in Australia, but would suggest the standards themselves need to be reviewed if this TV station again passes,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“If reports of al-Manar glorifying terrorists and regularly including anti-Semitic material are correct, then its extreme and dangerous voice simply has no place here in Australia and it should not be broadcast here.”
Jewish groups are alarmed that while ACMA found that al-Manar falls short of directly appealing for recruits, it nevertheless glorifies terrorism and lionises suicide bombers in a manner that no doubt encourages it.
Further, while it does not directly solicit funds for terrorist organisations recognised as such by the Australian Government it clearly encourages funding through a related organisation, namely the al-Emdad organisation, which supports the families of killed Hezbollah fighters.
“I welcome the ACMA’s commitment to review al-Manar, but if our current standards are not strong enough to prevent these types of broadcasts in Australia, then new standards must be considered,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Australia must remain vigilant against the threat of terror, and cannot afford to turn a blind eye to those who, at the very least, encourage support for such activities.”